PRIZEWORTHY
Winners of The American Prize in CHORAL PERFORMANCE and CONDUCTING, 2013


Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competiations may be found on our Please scroll down for winners and runners-up in earlier competition years.


Choral Performances Prizes

Conducting Prizes


CHORAL PERFORMANCE PRIZES


The American Prize in Choral Performance—Community Division, 2013


The American Prize Winner:





Opus 7 Vocal Ensemble  
Loren Ponten, director—Seattle, WA


 

 

Formed in 1992 by founding director Loren Pontén, Opus 7 specializes in 19th- through 21st-century a cappella choral music. As a resident ensemble of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington since 1994, Opus 7 is dedicated to performing the works of local and regional composers, regularly commissioning new choral compositions. In addition, since 2000 Opus 7 has fostered new talent in the field of choral music through their unique Student Choral Composition Awards Program.

Among judges comments: "The diction is impeccably clear and delivered with rhythmic clarity. Unison melodies are crafted with agreement of vowels and tone color."



2nd place:



Choral Arts  
Robert Bode, director—Seattle, WA


Seattle-based Choral Arts is a thirty-member auditioned choral ensemble led by Artistic Director/Conductor, Robert Bode. Choral Arts has distinguished itself as a significant contributor to the art of choral music and has consistently achieved artistic excellence in its music and programs for the past twenty years. Choral Arts currently has five CDs released under the Gothic label. Its mission, to inspire, educate and enrich our community through the transformational power of great choral music performed at the highest artistic level, is carried out through its three core commitments:

•          To share the beauty of high-quality choral music in a way that is transforming and special.
•          To provide students with a fresh and oftentimes first experience with choral music through our unique Education Outreach Programs.
•          To honor the talents and contributions of our country’s composers and be a catalyst for the creation of new compositions by American composers.



3rd place:




The Cecilia Chorus of New York  
Mark Shapiro, music director—NY, NY


The Cecilia Chorus of New York (formerly known as The St. Cecilia Chorus), founded in 1906, is now a 150 voice mixed chorus.  For many decades the Chorus, with professional orchestra and soloists, has presented two concerts a year at Carnegie Hall.  Under the artistic leadership of Mark Shapiro, appointed the seventh Music Director in July 2011, bold, new directions in programming and repertoire are emerging.  The Chorus commissioned and gave the world premiere performance of Divis Cetera by Rafael Fusco in December 2012. On April 14, 2013 the Chorus performed the NYC premiere of Dame Ethel Smyth’s Mass in D paired creatively with scenes from The Maid of Orleans by Tchaikovsky.  The Cecilia Chorus of New York is a secular not-for-profit organization perpetuating and expanding the classical choral-orchestral repertoire through commissions and performances for diverse audiences (including outreach programs) in major New York area venues.



The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2013—SPECIAL JUDGE'S CITATION: EXTRAORDINARY COMMITMENT to the COMMUNITY through MUSIC





Singers of the Street (SOS)  
Kathleen McGuire, conductor
San Francisco, CA


Singers of the Street (SOS) is a San Francisco-based community choir of people affected by homelessness. Its mission: to raise voices for justice, healing, and joy! SOS was founded by conductor Dr. Kathleen McGuire in September, 2010, inspired by similar organizations in Australia, Canada, and Europe. SOS rehearses Wednesday mornings, followed by a free lunch provided for participants, and performs 2 -3 times per month at churches, schools, and community events. Performance highlights include singing at the centenary celebration of the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall, and appearing - via video performance – in the London Festival at the Royal Opera House as part of the 2012 Olympics. SOS’s repertoire includes pops, world music, and sacred and secular selections reflecting its diverse membership. SOS has had a profound effect upon its participants and audiences, bringing hope of a brighter future to those who are disadvantaged. Please visit for more information.


*****

The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2013—College/University Division:


The American Prize Winner:





Iowa State Singers
James Rodde, director, Ames, IA


The Iowa State Singers is Iowa State’s most select choral ensemble.  Comprised of undergraduates, approximately one half of them music majors, the choir’s membership is drawn from a campus of over 30,000 students.  The group annually presents a five-concert season, which includes a full-scale Madrigal Dinner and choral-orchestral masterwork.  Recent performances include Carmina Burana, the Requiem settings of Brahms, Mozart, and Duruflé, and similar works.  Concert tours have taken them to Western Europe, Russia, China, Australia, Korea, and conventions of the ACDA (2004, 2005, 2009, 2010) and NCCO (2008, 2011).  “Exquisite.... one of the best choral ensembles we have heard!” – Primarily A Cappella


Among judges comments: "Each track shows a robust voice production; clearly secure singing both in terms of strong fundamentals and direction of unified expression."



2nd place:




Western Michigan University Chorale
Kimberly Dunn Adams, director, Kalamazoo, MI


Conducted by Dr. Kimberly Dunn Adams, the University Chorale is Western Michigan University’s flagship choral ensemble and represents the university at home and throughout the world.  The Chorale's annual performance itinerary includes concerts and festivals on the WMU campus, appearances in neighboring communities and churches, tours within the U.S., and an international tour every fourth year. Chorale has a long history of excellence in performance and competition, and has appeared alongside professional ensembles such as the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and Seraphic Fire. In 2004, Chorale was featured on the opening concert of the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival performing Stravinsky's Svadebka. The ensemble  has performed multiple times at ACDA National, Regional, and State Conventions and at the National Collegiate Choral Organization’s bi-annual conference.  Chorale has released numerous recordings, including a 2010 release with Seraphic Fire of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers that topped the iTunes charts and debuted to critical acclaim.



3rd Place:




Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West Richard Nance, conductor, Tacoma, WA


The Choir of the West is the premier choral ensemble of the Department of Music at Pacific Lutheran University.  Founded in 1925, the choir was the third Lutheran college choir to tour extensively throughout the country. The ensemble is comprised of undergraduate majors from a wide variety of academic disciplines.  Yearly performances include shared concerts with other PLU ensembles, the annual series of Christmas concerts, campus ministry events, and campus celebratory events. Choir of the West has a rich history of domestic touring, and every four years travels abroad. The choir has performed in China, Japan, Scandinavia, and Europe.  In 2011 Choir of the West won two gold and one silver award at the prestigious Harmonie Festival, held in Limburg-Lindenholzhausen, Germany.  The choir has been selected to appear at several conferences sponsored by the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education, most recently the 2013 ACDA national conference held in Dallas, Texas.

*****


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2013—Youth & High School Division:


The American Prize Winner:





Pinecrest High School Chamber Ensemble  
Erin E. Plisco, director—Southern Pines, NC



The Pinecrest High School Chamber Ensemble is comprised of 55 students, grades 9-12. The choir regularly performs for the school and community, and is often sought after to perform for local events. The Chamber Ensemble has a long history of superior festival ratings and honors, national performances, and a performance at the NCMEA state conference in 2009 and 2012. Students frequently participate in ACDA Honors Choirs, the NCMEA Honors Choir, and the NC Governor’s School for the Arts. In 2011, the program hosted Grammy award-winning composer Eric Whitacre as artist-in-residence for three days at the high school. In 2012, the program hosted the vocal group Cantus for a master class with the choral students. The choir recently performed at the Heritage Festival of Gold in Chicago, receiving the highest score in the festival. Other recent events include performances at Duke Chapel in Durham, and East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.


Among judges comments: "This ensemble has a clear understanding of choral style and performance. The repertoire is well-­chosen and appropriate for high school voices. Their diction and sense of phrasing are their strongest points, as is their commitment to working as an ensemble."


2nd place:




Young Naperville Singers Chamber Singers   Angie Johnson—Naperville, IL


Young Naperville Singers (YNS) was founded in 1984 with a mission dedicated to promoting the highest level of artistic excellence in choral music through extraordinary educational and performance experiences that enrich the lives of young people. Based in Naperville, Illinois, the choir consists of eight ensembles whose 318 members range in age from six to seventeen.  Weekly rehearsals are held to prepare for two formal concerts presented each year that feature a varied repertoire and guest musicians.  Informal concerts are held throughout the year. Singers have participated in festivals throughout North America, the most recent being the Coastal Sound International Choral Festival (Canada). YNS has had performance collaborations with Judy Collins, David Benoit and Natalie MacMaster and has premiered commissioned works by noted composers such as David Brunner and Stephen Paulus.  Membership is by audition and all children regardless of race, gender or physical ability are welcome.



3rd Place:




Brearley B-Naturals
Karyn Joaquino, director—New York, NY


The B-Naturals are the a cappella group of The Brearley School, an all-girls preparatory school in New York City.  The group was founded by students in 1986, and has performed under the direction of Karyn Joaquino since she joined the Brearley faculty in 2000.

The repertoire is intentionally broad, ranging from traditional choral pieces to vocal jazz and pop.  Much of the repertoire is arranged by Ms. Joaquino, but every show or recording is likely to include a few student arrangements, and even original student compositions.  Most members of the B-Naturals pursue their love of a cappella music during their college careers as well, often directing their own groups.


The B-Naturals have sung the national anthem before a Yankees game, opened for jazz pianist Peter Cincotti at Jazz at Lincoln Center, entertained the King and Queen of Sweden, and have brought their music abroad twice to England and Wales.  In addition to live performances, the B-Naturals have recorded five CDs, and have been recognized for their work by Best of High School A Cappella, DownBeat Magazine, and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards (CARAs).



CONDUCTING PRIZES:


The American Prize in Conducting, 2013—Choral Division, Community Chorus


The American Prize Winner:





Richard Nance
Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West, Tacoma, WA


Richard Nance is the Director of Choral Activities at Pacific Lutheran University where he has worked since 1992.  At PLU Nance conducts the Choir of the West, Choral Union, and teaches classes in choral conducting.  Nance holds bachelors and masters degrees from West Texas State University and the Doctor of Musical Arts from Arizona State University.  He has studied conducting with Hugh Sanders, Douglas McEwen and David Stocker, and composition with Joseph Nelson and Randall Shinn.  Nance is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and has held many state and divisional offices.  Nance’s choirs have appeared at several ACDA conferences and have toured Europe on five occasions.  In the summer of 2011 the Choir of the West won two gold and one silver certificate at the prestigious Harmonie Festival, held in Lindenholzhausen, Germany.  Also in 2011, two PLU choral albums under Nance’s direction won first and second prize in their categories of the “American Prize” competition, and Nance received first prize for conducting. Richard Nance’s compositions are regularly performed by school, university, church, community and festival choirs.  In 2002 Nance was selected to compose the prestigious Raymond Brock Memorial Composition for the American Choral Directors Association.  Other composers who have shared this honor include Gian-Carlo Menotti, Eric Whitacre, Morten Lauridsen, René Clausen, Daniel Pinkham, Samuel Adler and Gwyneth Walker.


Among judges comments: "The sound of this choir gives powerful evidence of a conductor with very fine pedagogical and gestural technique."



2nd place:




Peggy Dettwiler
Mansfield University Festival Chorus, Mansfield, PA


Peggy Dettwiler is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Mansfield University, where she conducts the Concert Choir, Festival Chorus, and Chamber Singers, and teaches choral conducting and methods. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.   In 2010, she received the Elaine Brown Award for Choral Excellence from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and she placed second for The 2011 American Prize for Choral Conductors at the College/University level.  Dettwiler has served as a guest conductor and lecturer throughout the country and has given presentations at numerous NAfME and ACDA Conventions.  She has produced two DVDs, one entitled, “Developing a Vocal Color Palette for Various Choral Styles” and the second, “Sing in Style.”


3rd Place:




Ingrid Lestrud
Merit School of Music Conservatory Choir, Chicago, IL


Dr. Ingrid Lestrud enjoys an active career as a conductor, educator, and singer. She earned the Doctor of Music degree in orchestral conducting at Northwestern University, where she frequently conducted the university’s orchestras and opera ensembles. She is the Voice Department Chair at the Merit School of Music in Chicago, where she is collaborating with the Lyric Opera and Renée Fleming to develop curriculum for the Renée Fleming Initiative, a solo voice program for high school students. She also serves as Merit’s Director of Choirs and conducts six children and youth choirs. During the 2012-2013 season, she is a finalist for the music director position with the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra. Previously, she has served as Assistant Conductor to the Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, the Meadows Symphony Orchestra, and the Hot Springs Music Festival. Prior to her conducting studies, Dr. Lestrud earned a vocal performance degree at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, and she enjoys singing with the Chicago Symphony Chorus.



PRIZEWORTHY
Winners of The American Prize in CHORAL PERFORMANCE and CONDUCTING, 2012


Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competiations may be found on our Please scroll down for winners and runners-up in earlier competitions.


Choral Performances Prizes

Conducting Prizes


CHORAL PERFORMANCE PRIZES


The American Prize in Choral Performance—Community Division


The American Prize Winner:






ENSEMBLE COMPANIO
Joseph Gregorio, conductor

West Chester, PA


Formed in 2011, Ensemble Companio comprises 24 accomplished choral singers from the northeast United States. The ensemble rehearses once a month and held its debut concert in March 2012. The group's name derives from a Latin form of the word "companion," whose etymological meaning is "one with whom one shares bread." Its name reflects its members' belief that partaking in choral music is an essential, nourishing, and healing endeavor, akin to the sharing of food. Ensemble Companio's mission is to build interpersonal bridges through authentic, inspiring performances of the finest choral music.


2nd place:




BEL CANTO CHORUS
Richard Hynson, director
Milwaukee, WI


Consistent artistic excellence, innovative programming, and powerful community impact are the earned hallmarks of Bel Canto Chorus; Southeastern Wisconsin's oldest continually performing arts organization. Bel Canto's mission of enriching the lives of its audiences, singers, and the wider community propels an annual season of four subscription concerts, vital special events, and two significant outreach programs on both ends of the demographic spectrum; Bel Canto Senior Singers and Bel Canto Boy Choirs. Founded in 1931, most of Bel Canto's one hundred singers are volunteer community members, ranging in age from 20 to 80 and representing all walks of life and professions.


3rd place:




CANTORI NEW YORK
Mark Shapiro, music director
New York, NY


Cantori New York, praised by The New York Times for its "spirit of exploration" and "virtuosity and assurance," celebrates its 28th season of programming featuring new and neglected works that deserve to be performed and heard.

A three-time winner of the ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, Cantori has built a strong reputation for artistic excellence and innovative programming, including an evening of theatrical choral music with Tony Award winner Maryann Plunkett. Cantori's collaborators have included the Cassatt String Quartet, Prism Saxophone Quartet, and the Gregg Smith Singers; appearances have included the opening season of Zankel Hall with Michael Tilson Thomas, Great Performers at Lincoln Center, and World Financial Center Arts & Events. Cantori's recordings include The Metamorphoses of Paul Crabtree, Echoes and Shadows (contemporary American choral works), and the first CD recording of Frank Martin's Le Vin Herbé, which was an Opera News Editors' Choice.



The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2012—Special Citation for Unique Collaborative Programming & Performance





VOCAL ART ENSEMBLE
Traci Barbieri, director
Davis, CA


THE VOCAL ART ENSEMBLE (VAE) is an a capella adult chorus of 20-24 trained musicians, dedicated to presenting varied repertoire meticulously prepared and lovingly performed. Founded in February 2008, VAE regularly performs in Northern CA and has toured abroad in Ireland. Richly themed programs typically include motets and masses composed during the Renaissance, music from diverse cultures, and choral masterworks by living composers. Rehearsing weekly in director Tracia Barbieri's living room, VAE relies entirely upon on community donations to defray costs.


*****

The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2012—College/University Division:


The American Prize Winner:





EAST CAROLINA UNIVERSITY CHAMBER SINGERS
Andrew Crane, conductor

Greenville, NC

The Chamber Singers is the select choral ensemble at ECU. Comprised of 34-40 auditioned singers, many of whom are voice majors from within the School of Music, the group tours annually and has performed by invitation at regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education. They maintain a rigorous rehearsal and performance schedule, and focus predominantly on unaccompanied choral literature suitable for advanced chamber choir.


2nd place:




ST. MARY'S COLLEGE WOMENS CHOIR
Nancy Menk*, conductor

Notre Dame, IN


THE SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE WOMEN'S CHOIR *regularly commissions and performs new works for women's voices. An outgrowth of this emphasis is the publication of the /Saint Mary's College Choral Series/, a collection of new works for women's voices, published by /earthsongs/ of Corvallis, Oregon. The Choir has performed throughout the United States and has appeared before state and division conventions of the Music Educators National Conference and the American Choral Directors Association. In February 2005, the Choir appeared before the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Los Angeles, CA. Each November the Choir hosts the annual Saint Mary's College High School Women's Choir Festival, in which 20 choirs from neighboring states perform for each other and a panel of commentators. The Choir tours nationally every other year, and regularly performs with the University of Notre Dame Glee Club in joint performances of major works with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra. They have been invited to perform for the ACDA Symposium on American Choral Music in Washington, DC in June, 2012.

*Dr. Menk is on leave-of-absence from The American Prize judging panel in 2012.


3rd Place:




UNIVERSITY of WASHINGTON CHORALE
Giselle Wyers, conductor

Seattle, WA


University of Washington Chorale, directed by Giselle Wyers, is an auditioned undergraduate ensemble of 60 music and non-music majors from the Seattle campus.  UW Chorale was recently selected to perform at the 2011 MENC Regional Conference in Seattle, and has appeared as guest ensemble with the Seattle Symphony ("The University Chorale was brilliant," 2008 Seattle Times review) and in joint concerts with Revalia Male Chamber Choir in Estonia, and for the Princess of Sweden. UW Chorale has been invited to appear as the only American choir in the Latvian Song Festival in Riga, Latvia, during the summer of 2013.

*****


The American Prize in Choral Performance, 2012—Youth & High School Division:


The American Prize Winner:





THE DAVIDSON CHORALE
Timothy Powell, conductor

Augusta, GA

The Davidson Chorale, conducted by Dr. Timothy M. Powell, performs regularly at prestigious events and venues in their home state of Georgia, nationally, and internationally. The Chorale most recently performed with two-time Grammy winner Joseph Jennings, Tim Sharp, and Mack Wilberg. The Chorale has been honored with invitations to perform at Lincoln Center as well as GMEA, ACDA, and MENC conventions. In 2010, the Chorale travelled to Germany and the Czech Republic, a tour highlighted by an exclusive invitation to perform on Easter Sunday at the famed St. Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany, the home church of J. S. Bach.

2nd place:




LAWRENCE ACADEMY GIRL CHOIR—BEL CANTO
Karen Bruno, conductor

Appleton, WI


Bel Canto is the high school component of the Lawrence Academy of Music's 330-member Girl Choir program. The Girl Choir program seeks to provide quality choral opportunities for girls in private, public, parochial, and home schools throughout the Fox Valley region. Through the study and performance of the highest quality music, girls develop vocal technique, musical skills, creativity, expressive artistry, and an awareness of various cultures. The Girl Choir program strives to create an atmosphere that encourages girls to respect the uniqueness of others, to take risks that foster individual growth, and to continue their development into self-assured young women.


3rd Place:




COLUMBUS INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S CHOIR
Tatiana Kats, conductor

Columbus, OH


The Columbus International Children's Choir (CICC) offers professional quality singing education and remarkable performance experience for children and youth from Columbus, Ohio, and other Central Ohio communities. It was formed in 1998 by Tatiana Kats, currently artistic director and principal conductor of the choir. CICC consists of over 150 students ages 4-18 and 6 choral groups. The repertoire includes classical, contemporary, sacred and folk, music as well as musicals. The choir performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, in Beijing, Toronto, Chicago, Fort Wayne, Ohio Capitol Statehouse, and in many other venues.

CONDUCTING PRIZES:


The American Prize in Conducting, 2012—Choral Division, Community Chorus


The American Prize Winner:





Richard Hynson

Music Director and Conductor
Bel Canto Chorus

Milwaukee, WI

During his 24 years as Music Director, Dr. Richard Hynson has transformed Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee from a venerable community chorus to a vibrant, successful arts organization respected for its artistic excellence, innovative programming, and impactful outreach. Hynson has guest conducted throughout the U.S and has lead Bel Canto on multiple international tours, most recently to Argentina in summer 2011. Under Hynson’s direction, Bel Canto opened its 81st season on Sunday, September 11, 2011, with United We Stand.  This free outdoor concert, attended by 4,000 people, marked the 10th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks and featured Mozart’s Requiem.

2nd place:




Karen Thomas
Artistic Director

Seattle Pro Musica

Seattle, WA


Karen P. Thomas, composer and conductor, is the Artistic Director and Conductor of Seattle Pro Musica, with whom she has recorded eight critically-acclaimed CDs, and received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP-Chorus America Award. Her compositions are performed internationally, by groups such as The Hilliard Ensemble, and are hailed as “…superb work of the utmost sensitivity and beauty.” She has received awards and grants from the NEA, American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and ASCAP, among others. Her commissions include works for the International Grand Jubilee in Rome and the American Guild of Organists.


3rd Place:




Jonathan Palant
Minister of Music

Kessler Park United Methodist Church

Dallas, TX


Jonathan Palant, a native of Lexington, Massachusetts, is currently Minister of Music at Kessler Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas.  From 2007-2011, he served as Artistic Director of Dallas’ Turtle Creek Chorale.  Prior to that time, Palant was Adjunct Professor of Choral Music at Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan.  He taught secondary choral music at both University School in Cleveland, Ohio and San Pasqual High School in Escondido, California. Palant holds degrees from Michigan State University, Temple University and the University of Michigan.



*****


PRIZEWORTHY
Winners of the American Prize Spring 2011 Competitions


For winners of the 2010 competitions, please click


Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competiations may be found on our .


Choral Performances Prizes

Conducting Prizes

Citations


CHORAL PERFORMANCE PRIZES


The American Prize in Choral Performance—professional division





WASHINGTON BACH CONSORT
J Reilly Lewis
music director

Washington, D.C.


Founded in 1977 by J. Reilly Lewis, the Washington Bach Consort is a professional chorus and orchestra noted for its performance of 18th-Century music on period instruments. The Consort has appeared at numerous festivals and has made three European tours and four recordings. The Consort completed Bach's entire 215-cantata cycle in 2006 with a second cycle now underway at the Consort's free Noontime Cantata series.

Among judges comments: "The voices blend beautifully. Balanced, articulate, matched."


2nd place:




Sinfonia Voci
Daniel Abraham
music director

Washington, D.C.





3rd place:




The Princeton Singers
Steven Sametz
artistic director

Princeton, NJ







The American Prize in Choral Performance—College/University division





MANSFIELD UNIVERSITY CONCERT CHOIR
Peggy Dettwiler
conductor

Mansfield, PA


The Mansfield University Concert Choir, Mansfield, Pennsylvania, has achieved an impressive reputation of excellence, having been chosen each of the last nineteen years to perform at MENC, ACDA, or NCCO conventions across the country and for international festivals around the world. In 2008, they won the Championship in the Gospel &; Spiritual Category and placed second among 36 choirs in the Mixed Youth Choir Category at the World Choir Games in Graz, Austria.

Among judges comments: "...choir sings with wonderful stylistic accuracy...great intonation and balance among the parts.”


2nd place:




Pacific Lutheran University Choir of the West
Richard Nance
conductor

Tacoma, WA








3rd place:




University of Arizona Symphonic Choir
Elizabeth Schauer
conductor

Tucson, AZ





The American Prize in Choral Performance—community chorus division





PACIFIC LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
Richard Nance
conductor

Tacoma, WA


The Pacific Lutheran University Choral Union was established in 1984 to create an ensemble that would bring together singers from the surrounding community, PLU faculty and staff, alumni and students. The 80-voice ensemble performs three or four concerts each academic year, singing both major choral works and programs of shorter works. Choral Union has performed for regional and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, and has performed four European tours.

Among judges comments: "...tone is rich, warm, brilliant, and beautiful. The resonance is nicely balanced between dark and light timbres, and the sound is thrilling, without being fatiguing...”


There was a tie for second place:




Peninsula's Women Chorus
Martin Benvenuto
artistic director

Palo Alto, CA






Seattle Pro Musica
Karen P. Thomas
artistic director

Seattle, WA



3rd place:


Cathedral Choral Society
J. Reilly Lewis
director

Washington National Cathedral

Washington, D.C.








The American Prize in Choral Performance—high school division


There was a tie between the top two finishers in 2011.





LONGMEADOW HIGH SCHOOL LYRICS
Kayla Werlin
conductor

Longmeadow, MA


Lyrics is the honors SATB choral ensemble at Longmeadow High School. Each April, approximately 100 students in grades 8-11 audition for a place in the choir for the following year. This year's ensemble numbers 45 singers, grades 10-12. Lyrics meets as a class 3-4 hours weekly. Additionally, student section leaders run weekly rehearsals outside of school. Lyrics has consistently earned gold medals in state festivals, and has toured in Europe and the US.

Among judges comments: "...works in very different styles were also beautifully sung."





JR. MENDELSSOHN CHOIR OF PITTSBURGH
Susan Medley
conductor

Pittsburgh, PA


The Junior Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh is an educational outreach program of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. Founded by Robert Page and Christine Jordanoff, the Jr. Mendelssohn Choir will celebrate its 25th anniversary this season. High school students from throughout the greater Pittsburgh area are eligible to audition. During its ten-week season, a portion of each Jr. Mendelssohn rehearsal is spent in coaching sessions with singers from the professional core of the Mendelssohn Choir. The season culminates in a concert featuring a major choral/orchestral work and a variety of a cappella repertoire. www.themendelssohn.org

Among judges comments: "Very good spirit. Chorus communicated its enjoyment."


2nd place:




The Huron High School A Capella Choir
Richard Ingram
conductor

Ann Arbor, MI





The American Prize in Choral Performance—children's chorus division






THE BEL CANTO CHILDREN'S CHORUS
Joy Hirokawa
director


The Bel Canto Children's Chorus was founded in 1993. Comprised of auditioned treble singers from five counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, the singers have developed an international reputation for performing diversified choral repertoire at the highest standard of musical excellence and style. They are particularly noted for the innovative, artistic programs they perform. The choir has performed for numerous ACDA, MENC and PMEA conference programs and tours nationally and internationally.

Among judges comments: "Very healthy, free vocal production. The repertoire is well-suited to this ensemble, both in difficulty and in emotional depth."


2nd place:




The Old North Festival Youth Chorus
Rebecca Kenneally
conductor

Boston, MA





Honorable Mention:




Central Illinois Children's Chorus Chamber Choir
Andrea Solya
conductor

Champaign, IL





Honorable Mention:



Columbus International Children's Choir
Tatiana Kats
conductor

Columbus, OH






CHORAL CITATIONS:


Citations for Unique Choral Programming




CANTORI NEW YORK
Mark Shapiro

music director
New York, NY

Cited for their March 2011 concert at Church of the Holy Trinity, New York City, featuring Romancero Gitano by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, the world premiere of Night Keeps its Promise, by Frank Ezra Levy, and selections by John Dowland.

Currently in its 27th season, three-time recipient ASCAP Programming Award recipient Cantori New York has been praised by The New York Times for its “spirit of exploration” and “virtuosity,” winning acclaim for its artistic excellence and innovative programming. Cantori’s collaborators have included Tony winner Maryann Plunkett, the Cassatt String Quartet, and the Prism Saxophone Quartet; Cantori has been presented by Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center, and GEMS and MATA at Le Poisson Rouge.




MILWAUKEE CHORAL ARTISTS
Sharon Hansen

director

Cited for their 10th Anniversary compact disc on the Clarion label made up entirely of commissions and world premieres.

The Milwaukee Choral Artists is Wisconsin's premiere professional choral ensemble, and one of only a handful of professional women's choral ensembles in the country. With its signature lush sound, MCA brings a distinctive repertory of choral and vocal masterworks— including well-known pieces, new music, and seldom-performed works—to concert audiences throughout the region. Committed to presenting music from diverse cultures, the ensemble has performed music in twenty-eight languages from more than forty world cultures. www.milwaukeechoralartists.org


Joy of Music Citation




SISTRUM—LANSING WOMEN'S CHORUS
Meredith Bowen

music director

Sistrum will received a Joy of Music citation, honoring the ensemble for the depth of its artistic vision and its infectious performances in "an exuberant and delightful recording entitled Dancing Naked at the Edge of Dawn."

Sistrum is an inclusive women's chorus committed to creating music together that Inspires, Empowers, and Entertains. We strive to provide a musical haven where women may find their voices and enjoy the camaraderie offered by the Sistrum community. We further endeavor to create a choral instrument by which our members can use their voices to raise beautiful music and powerful energy. It is our intent to challenge and entertain our audiences and ourselves, such that all are moved to emotion, thought and action. We believe in the magic and joy of raising our voices together. In doing so, we lend our spark to the worldwide struggle for peace, equality and freedom for all people.


The American Prize in Conducting—college/university division:




CAROLE J. OTT
assistant professor of choral music
University Chorale and and Chamber Singers

Greensboro, NC

Carole Ott, conductor, is Assistant Professor of Choral Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At UNCG, she directs the Chorale and teaches undergraduate and graduate level conducting. Additionally, she is the director of the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale. Ott recently joined the faculty of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp where she serves as director of the International Choir and Alumni Choir. Her degrees include an MM and DMA from the University of Michigan.

Among judge comments: “makes excellent use of the baton...very clear and expressive”


2nd place:





Peggy Dettwiler
conductor of the Mansfield University Concert Choir
Mansfield, PA







3rd place:





David DeVenney
conductor of the West Chester University Concert Choir
West Chester, PA








The American Prize in Conducting—community chorus division





RICHARD NANCE
director
Pacific Lutheran (University) Choral Union

Tacoma, WA

Dr. Richard Nance is currently associate professor of music and conductor of The Choir of the West and the Choral Union at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington USA. Nance holds bachelors and masters degrees from West Texas A&M (then West Texas State University) and the DMA degree from Arizona State University. Dr. Nance has studied conducting with Hugh Sanders, Douglas McEwen and David Stocker and studied composition with Joseph Nelson and Randall Shinn.

Among judges comments: "...encourages vibrant, healthy singing...and knows how to make a piece “work” though his pacing and attention to detail."


2nd place:





Daniel Hughes
conductor of the Choral Project
San Jose, CA









3rd place:





J. Reilly Lewis
director of the Washington National Cathedral Choral Society
Washington, D.C.







PRIZEWORTHY
Winners of the American Prize Spring 2010 Competitions


Choral Performances Prizes

Conducting Prizes

Conducting Citations


Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competiations may be found on our .


CHORAL PERFORMANCE PRIZES


The American Prize in Choral Performance—professional division





ROOMFUL OF TEETH
Williamstown, MA
Brad Wells, founder and artistic director


Roomful of Teeth is an eight-voice vocal ensemble that embraces the full spectrum of vocal practices and, through an on-going commissioning project, develops new compositions using the fullest possible range of vocal techniques. Launched in 2009, the ensemble of young, classically-trained singers studies with international experts in vocal techniques ranging from Tuvan throat singing to yodeling. The ensemble commissions composers to write music utilizing their ever-expanding palette of vocal colors.


2nd place:




VOX—The Rob Seible Singers
Houston, TX
Rob Seible, conductor







The American Prize in Choral Performance—community division





CHORAL ARTS
Seattle, WA
Rob Bode, music director


Choral Arts was founded in 1993 and since then, has received local, national and international acclaim for its mastery of style, language, and genre. The ensemble performs up to four concert series each season in the Seattle area. Guest appearances have included: Mark Morris Dance Company, International Music Festival of Seattle, Northwest Sinfonietta's 5th Anniversary Gala Concert, Arts West Music Series, Puget Sound Music Society, and Seattle Symphony's Christmas Singalong Concert at Benaroya Hall. The choir participated in the International Chamber Choir Competition in Marktoberdorf Germany, where they placed fourth overall out of 300 international choirs and received a special recognition award. Choral Arts has four recordings available through the Loft/Gothic label.


The American Prize judging praised Choral Art's performance: "first-rate...great colors and impeccable intonation."


2nd place (tie):




Seattle Pro Musica
Seattle, WA
Karen Thomas, conductor









Atlanta Sacred Chorale
Atlanta, GA
Eric Nelson, conductor







3rd place (tie):




Sacramento Choral Society
Sacramento, CA
Donald Kendrick, conductor









Calvin College Alumni Choir
Grand Rapids, MI
Pearl Shangkuan, conductor







The American Prize in Choral Performance—college⁄university division





WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON COLLEGE CAMERATA SINGERS
Washington, PA
Susan Medley, conductor


The Washington & Jefferson College Camerata Singers is the premiere vocal ensemble at W&J. The group is comprised of sixteen singers who, in the liberal arts tradition, represent a wide range of majors including biochemistry, psychology, biology, chemistry, economics, English, German, music, and theater. The Camerata Singers have appeared at the state conference of the Pennsylvania Music Education Association, the MENC Eastern Division Conference, and as featured performers at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.


The American Prize judging panel commented on selections by the Washington & Jefferson College Camerata Singers: "choir has a lovely sound...excellent sense of shaping and phrase in this performance."


2nd place:




LBCC Re-Choired Element Chamber Choir
Albany, OR
James Reddan, conductor





3rd place:




NW Oklahoma University Chorale
Alva, OK
Stephen Kingsbury, conductor





The American Prize in Choral Performance—youth choir division





NEW WORLD SINGERS
Columbus, OH
Sandra Mathias, director


The New World Singers is the top ensemble of the Columbus and Central Ohio Children's Chorus Foundation, formed as a non-profit foundation in 1995. The choir has toured in the U.S., Russia, Eastern Europe, and Canada. They have performed with the National Repertory Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony, and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. In 2007 they were selected to perform at the national conferences of the American Choral Directors' Association and the Organization of American Kodály Educators.


The American Prize judging panel commented on selections by the New World Singers: "most impressed with the choir's intonation...with the uniformity of tone quality...diction is very clear...exceptional repertoire."


2nd place:




Rhode Island Children's Chorus Chamber Choir
Harrisville, RI
Christine Noel, director








3rd place:




Salem Youth Chorus
Salem, OH
John Simsic, director










The American Prize in Choral Performance—high school division





HSPVA MADRIGAL SINGERS
Houston, TX
Rob Seible, director


The Madrigal Singers has been a top vocal ensemble at The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, since the school's inception 38 years ago. The 16 singers, all juniors and seniors, perform acapella music from all periods and are versatile in many musical styles. The Madrigal Singers are best known as representatives of the school during the Christmas season, when they perform innumerable concerts throughout Houston, dressed in Renaissance costume.


Among the Madrigal Singers' outstanding qualities to receive comment by The American Prize judging panel were "good core of well-trained voices...diction is almost always natural and well-controlled...good listening...attention to details..."


2nd place:




Traverse City West Senior High School Chorale
Traverse City, MI
Russ Larimer, conductor








3rd place:




Burley Middle School Young Women's Chorus
Charlottesville, VA
Craig Jennings, conductor







4th place:




Olympia High School Chorale
Stanford, IL
Debbie Aurelius-Muir, director






CONDUCTING PRIZES:


The American Prize in Conducting—community division




ERIC NELSON
Atlanta Sacred Chorale
Atlanta, GA

Eric Nelson: B.M.-Houghton College, M.M.-Westminster Choir College, D.M.-Indiana University. Currently Director of Graduate and Choral Studies at Emory University, Minister of Music at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church and Artistic Director of Atlanta Sacred Chorale. Recent past-president of Georgia ACDA and recipient of Emory's Crystal Apple Award for Teaching Excellence. Emory's Concert Choir and Atlanta Sacred Chorale have both performed at recent ACDA conventions. Memberships include ACDA, GMEA, AGO, and Chorus America.


CONDUCTING CITATIONS:


The American Prize in Conducting—Excellence in Music Education Citation





JEREMY FAUST
International Orange Chorale
San Francisco, CA

Jeremy Faust (b. 1979) is founder of the International Orange Chorale, hailed as "spot-on-spectacular" (San Francisco Classical Voice). World and regional premieres include works by Thomas Adès, Jake Heggie, Georgia Stitt, and others with publications by G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard. Jeremy has conducted performances by Frederica von Stade, the Yale Glee Club and the Parthenia Consort of Viols and serves as assistant conductor for the Canticum Novum Singers under Harold Rosenbaum in New York City.





KATHLEEN MCGUIRE
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus
San Francisco, CA

With an impressive career spanning 30 years, Australian-born McGuire has directed the 200-voice San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus since 2000. She also conducts the Community Women's Orchestra and has worked with numerous opera companies. She earned a DMA at the University of Colorado (Boulder), and a Masters degree in the UK as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Fellow. McGuire is also a renowned CD producer and music arranger, with works published by Shawnee Press.






CHRISTINE NOEL
Rhode Island Children's Chorus Chamber Choir
Harrisville, RI

Christine Noel, Founder and Artistic Director of the RI Children's Chorus, is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Conducting at Boston University, where she also completed a Master of Music. Ms. Noel serves as Director of Choral Activities at Clark University (Worcester, MA), Artistic Director of the Carillon Women's Chorus of RI, and Assistant Conductor of the Providence Singers. She has conducted the RI Children's Chorus Chamber Choir at ACDA and MENC conventions.






JAMES REDDAN
LBCC Re-Choired Element Chamber Choir
Albany, OR

James Reddan, Professor of Music & Director of Choral Activities at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Oregon. Ensembles under Reddan's direction have performed in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Reddan is currently a Doctoral Student at Boston University pursuing a DMA in Music Education. He received the MM in Choral Conducting and Music Education from the University of Oregon, and BA in Music Education from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.